COVID-19 update and press conference – Saturday, January 23, 2021. (PMO)

Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, has dismissed any suggestion that the healthcare of inmates was compromised during the COVID-19 outbreak at the penal institution.

On the contrary, he said he received daily reports on the inmates; what they were being fed; the times they were fed; and requests made for medications, vitamin supplements, or to see a doctor.

“The fact that we were able to reduce the infection rate in the prison to where it is now, and that we had no serious cases would tell you [that] every single issue with respect to the inmates that we received notification on we addressed as quickly.

“We did not play with the health of the inmates…. I am comfortable in saying that nobody’s healthcare was compromised.  We took every single report seriously,” Mr. Abrahams stressed.

Speaking during a virtual press conference to update the country on the current COVID-19 situation, he pointed out that there was a situation where the pharmacy at the prison was closed for a few days.

However, he noted that arrangements were made to get medication for inmates from the pharmacy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and private pharmacies.

He added that the vitamins and supplements that inmates requested, but which were usually sourced through the Commissary from funds on their accounts, were sourced privately and distributed to inmates after the Commissary was closed following the outbreak.

Making reference to what he termed “fake news”, Mr. Abrahams lamented that what often happened was that someone would circulate a complaint, which though addressed immediately, would circulate on social media for days after it was corrected.

“All complaints, with respect to inmates’ comfort; with respect to their feeding; with respect to their access to their lawyer; with respect to them being able to call home or get a message home, were addressed immediately as they were received,” Mr. Abrahams contended.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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